$45 million solar farm project in the west of Peterborough will transform nearly 140 acres of farmland and produce alternative energy for about 1500 homes every year. The solar farm will be constructed within a month on the Lili Lake Rd.
“We will be the first municipally owned utility to build a solar farm in Ontario,” Peterborough Utilities president and CEO Larry Doran said.
“One of our mandates is to build profitable renewable generation. That’s what we are doing. It will be renewable. It will cut down on greenhouse gases. It will return a profit that will eventually be paid to the city.”
The 10 MW facility will be built directly north of the Dobbin transformer station in the area of Lily Lake and Ackison roads, near the west end of Jackson Park.
PUI purchased about 250 acres of private farmland that had already received approval, licensing and zoning for the project, Doran said.
The solar panels will take up about 140 acres, which is about six times the size of Morrow Park.
“The project will cost when fully completed somewhere between $40 million and $45 million,” Doran said.
“We believe it to be quite profitable at the current prices paid for solar.”
PUI has contracted with EPOD Solar Inc. of Kelowna, B.C., which is in the midst of undergoing a merger with ICP Solar Technologies Inc., to build the solar facility. It will employ the latest in thin-film photovoltaic solar technology.
Mayor Paul Ayotte said the project is win-win for the city.
“I think it’s a great project for the community and the whole region. It will certainly benefit our community because we are selling green energy back into the grid,” he said.
Revenue from the profitable technology will also flow into city coffers, he added
“That’s why we are getting into it,” he said. “Certainly that’s advantageous to us.”
Engineers will be on the site next week doing preliminar
y work and construction of the field of solar panels will begin within a month, Doran said.
The initial phase of the project should be fully in-service before the end of the year, he added.
The solar farm will complement PUI’s other renew-a ble energy facilities, Doran said, such as the hydroelectric generating station on the Otonabee River and its planned methane plant.
“We actively pursue renewable generation sites,” Doran said.
PUI’s project won’t be the first solar farm in Ontario. Sarnia and Arnprior, near Ottawa, both boast 20 MW solar farms, both owned by private corporations.